Hotel Intel: Conrad Fort Lauderdale is a new-age Hilton

Architecturally grand and daring Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach is not your grandfather’s Hilton.

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Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, a subsidiary of Hilton, marries one of the world’s best-known hotel companies with an iconic vacation town known for relaxed Florida-style living.

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Arguably the first international hotel brand, Hilton encouraged overseas travel in the 1950s and 1960s and became a benchmark for executive comfort and a safe haven of American hospitality, whether you’re in Peoria or in Paris.

Fast forward to 2022. Architecturally grand and daring Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach is not your grandfather’s Hilton. It offers yoga on the beach at sunrise; tacos and falafels at the Spinnaker pool bar; bodyboarding for juniors; sushi and sake at Takato and massages with CBD oil (a derivative of cannabis) at the Conrad Spa. The resort recently added travel essentials for babies, including Pack ‘n Play bassinets, audio devices, baby monitors, and bath products.

Nautical inspiration: The chic Conrad stands out with its nautical design, reminiscent of a large ocean liner. It has a distinctive curved facade that faces the Atlantic coast and large porthole-style windows in every suite. It’s a modern grandeur with open spaces, wide hallways, and a spacious lobby with curved accents.

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The flagship design is the sixth-floor Sky Deck, with an oval pool, sun deck, garden and spinnaker and outdoor bar and grill, all overlooking Fort Lauderdale’s bustling beach and seafront promenade.

A leader in Fort Lauderdale’s upswing in the 2000s, Conrad Fort Lauderdale is surrounded by marine life. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, it’s about a mile from the city’s Intracoastal Waterway, which connects hundreds of miles of canals, making Fort Lauderdale one of North America’s great yachting centers . Port Everglades, two miles south of the Conrad, is the third largest cruise port in the world. Gigantic ocean vessels parade slowly in the distance, almost mystical entities, visible from the resort.

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Suites : Conrad (owned by the Heafey Group of Gatineau) is an all-suite resort hotel built with luxury in mind. Suites come in a variety of configurations, and all feature generously sized balconies, bedrooms, and living areas, as well as sleek kitchens outfitted with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances and Lavazza coffeemakers. There’s plenty of room as each suite’s dining space sits on the private balcony, protected from the elements and cradled by the constant swoosh of the ocean. Bathrooms are also large, with double sinks, soaking tubs, glass showers, fancy fixtures from Waterworks and Kohler, and toiletries such as Shanghai Tang or a men’s line called The Refinery.

Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach is architecturally grand and bold.
Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach is architecturally grand and bold. Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach

Catering (variable hours): Takato has seduced Fort Lauderdale with an exciting fusion of Japanese and Korean cuisine, and the oceanfront terrace is packed for lunch, dinner, and happy hour. Spotlight on sushi, shrimp tempura, spicy chicken, Wagyu steaks or rib-kimchi tacos, complemented by vegan wines, sake and cocktails.

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Atlas, the hotel’s lounge, serves after-sun dinners featuring roast chicken, charred octopus, burgers, and flatbread. Atlas’ bartenders whip up wild mixes of premium tequila, mezcal, gin, and vodka; a glass of Veuve Cliquot champagne is a relatively affordable US$22.

At Spinnaker Pool Grill, the seafood salad, chipotle beef taco and burger are best sellers, along with a rum and chocolate banana split drink. If the kids are craving snacks, the Cornucopia Gourmet Market is a handy grab-and-go for sandwiches, pizzas, and brownies.

What to do: GO H20 is Conrad’s day camp for children and teens, with water and land activities such as snorkeling, marine treasure hunts, tie-dye or jewelry crafts or beach football (4 to 17 years old, all day, lunch included; funkyfishoceancamp.com, $89 per person)

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Guests also gather at the beach for sunrise yoga sessions or cruise along Fort Lauderdale’s beachfront boardwalk with the resort’s fleet of new bikes.

The Conrad Spa is a draw. The Ocean Enchantment treatment combines a face and body treatment with orange blossom essence. The Sea Spa Escape uses algae-based products to exfoliate and massage and the Hydrafacial is an intense replenisher based on exclusive serums.

Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, an all-suite resort, is a landmark along the Atlantic coast.
Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, an all-suite resort, is a landmark along the Atlantic coast. Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach

IF YOU ARE GOING TO

Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach: 954-414-5100, conradfortlauderdale.com or 888-728-3029, hilton.com; 551 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. Hilton Honors program valid at 18 brands, including Waldorf Astoria, LXR, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Homewood Suites, Canopy and Curio Collection. Accessible rooms available.

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Price: Prices fluctuate. Weekends and holidays are higher. All units have kitchens. Junior suites and studios from US$650 with a two-night stay and Hilton Honors membership; one-bedroom suites from US$680. Poolside duplexes, two- and three-bedroom suites, and penthouse suites are also available. Extra: resort fee, $40 per day. Includes bathrobes, business and fitness centers, bottled water, beach facilities, sunrise yoga, bicycles, 20% off at Conrad Spa. Valet parking, $46 a night; $10 for meals or spa visits.

Fort Lauderdale Tourism: 954-765-4466, visitlauderdale.com Where sunny.org; Florida: 888-735-2872, visitflorida.com.

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About Brad S. Fulton

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